Visitors to the Mercedes-Benz stand at the 14th Auto Shanghai show from 21 to 28 April 2011 will witness the first heartbeat of a new compact generation. The centrepiece of the company's presentation is the world premiere of the Concept A-Class: its expressive design symbolises concentrated dynamism, while technical highlights include a new, turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine, a dual-clutch transmission and a radar-based collision warning system with adaptive Brake Assist. The new Mercedes SLK, the new-generation C-Class and the new CLS are also sure to be major attractions for the public: all three model series are celebrating their Chinese premiere as representatives of the current model initiative by Mercedes-Benz – 125 years after the invention of the car by Gottlieb Daimler and Carl Benz. And its future has only just begun, as is clearly demonstrated by the F-CELL World Drive, which will be visiting China on its round-the-world tour just in time for the show.
For some considerable time Mercedes-Benz has been the fastest-growing premium brand in the Chinese market. This trend impressively continued in 2010: Mercedes-Benz achieved sales records each month, and deliveries for the whole year totalled 148,400 passenger cars (previous year: 70,100), an increase of 112 percent. This precipitate growth is continuing in 2011.
Mercedes Concept A-Class: the first heartbeat of a new generation
A long bonnet, a low silhouette and slim window areas: the proportions of the Concept A-Class suggest concentrated dynamism. The car's sporty appearance is given particular depth by the interplay between lines and surfaces. The wind and the waves, as well as aviation engineering, were the sources of inspiration for its designers.
But it is not only visually, but also technologically that the Concept A-Class is
ushering in a new compact class era at Mercedes-Benz. This front-wheel drive model is powered by a four-cylinder petrol engine from the new M270 series. It was designed for transverse installation, and thanks to direct injection and turbocharging it offers a high performance potential together with minimal emissions and fuel consumption. The Concept A-Class is equipped with the two-litre variant of the new engine, developing 155 kW(210 hp). This BlueEFFICIENCY unit is combined with the new Mercedes-Benz dual clutch transmission.
As a world first in the compact class, the Concept car features a radar-based collision warning system with adaptive Brake Assist, which lowers the risk of rear-end collisions. This assistance system gives a visual and acoustic warning to a possibly inattentive driver, and prepares Brake Assist for an absolutely precise braking response. This is initiated as soon as the driver emphatically operates the brake pedal.
A smartphone is fully integrated into the operating Concept of the Concept A‑Class. All the applications, services and features of a digital lifestyle can therefore be operated via COMAND Online. The visual presentation of the display screen elements is unique and revolutionary. Dynamically varied glass elements are illuminated by magenta-coloured light to form three-dimensionally arranged navigation levels.
New-generation C-Class: new appearance for a bestseller
The new C-Class to be presented in Shanghai is a comprehensive modernisation. The front and rear sections of this bestselling model have a more striking design. Together with the optional, high-resolution colour display in the instrument cluster, the new dashboard with its elegant, grained surface and prominent decorative trim emphasises the premium character of the interior. Fuel consumption has been lowered by up to 31 percent. Efficiency-enhancing measures include new engines, the improved 7G-TRONIC PLUS automatic transmission and the ECO start/stop function. Ten new driving assistance systems ranging from ATTENTION ASSIST drowsiness detection to DISTRONIC PLUS proximity control are now available for this model series. The new-generation telematics include internet access and a 3D navigation display with plastic city views. All in all, more than 2000 new components distinguish the latest-generation C-Class from its predecessor.
The C-Class is the highest-selling model series, and therefore of particular importance for Mercedes-Benz. The current series has found well over one million buyers worldwide since its launch in March 2007. Since the introduction of the first C-Class in 1982 (then known as the model 190), Mercedes-Benz has sold more than 8.5 million vehicles in total in this segment. In 2010 too, the C-Class achieved top placings in worldwide registration figures.
SLK Roadster: driving pleasure and open-air fun
With the completely newly developed Mercedes SLK, one of the world's most exciting and successful sports cars is entering its third lease of life. The new Roadster uncompromisingly raises driving enjoyment and open-air fun to a new level. It combines lightfooted sportiness with stylish comfort, striking sports car design with absolute everyday suitability and peak performance with exemplary ecology.
The designers have tailor-made an outfit for the new SLK which emphasises its classic roadster proportions and puts them in the spotlight to thrilling effect. Behind the long bonnet is a compact passenger compartment positioned far back, and a short tail end. The SLK will tempt potential customers with the key attributes that characterise all the classic roadsters from Mercedes-Benz and that have also made many of them automotive icons.
What’s more, the SLK is proud to present the world premiere of the panoramic vario-roof with MAGIC SKY CONTROL, which switches to light or dark at the touch of a button. Exemplary efficiency and sporty flair come courtesy of powerful new 4- and 6-cylinder engines featuring the standard-specification ECO start/stop function. Delivering superb performance, they are nevertheless up to 25 percent more economical than their predecessors. And a unique set of safety equipment bestows role-model status on the SLK in this segment. With its wealth of technical innovations the SLK is once again the benchmark in its class.
Four-door CLS Coupé – the new design icon from Mercedes-Benz
A breathtaking design, lightweight construction methods, a sporty suspension setup, more powerful and efficient engines and driving safety at the highest level: with its fascinating, sensual design and refined sportiness, the new edition of the CLS benefits from the fact that as the inventor of this segment, Mercedes-Benz is a whole generation ahead of the field. As a design trendsetter, the new CLS also sets new standards in the interior with numerous individualisation options. There is a choice of five interior colours, five trim versions and three types of leather.
The electromechanical steering system, celebrating its world premiere in the luxury vehicle segment with the CLS, is a radical step forward in the relationship between driver, car and road. Because for the first time, it gives engineers the freedom to choose and programme many of the parameters that influence steering feedback. So they defined a Mercedes-Benz feeling behind the wheel. In addition to fuel economy, the result is a considerable improvement in handling and agility.
The CLS is the first passenger car in the world to offer fully dynamic LED High Performance headlamps, which combine the daylight-like quality of LED technology with the performance, functionality and energy efficiency of today's bi-xenon generation. For the first time ever, this new light system provides the Intelligent Light System already proven in Mercedes models fitted with bi-xenon headlamps in combination with LED technology. The headlamps, with their 71 LEDs in total, have a dramatic appearance and serve to underline the unmistakable appearance of the CLS. More than a dozen driver assistance systems in the new CLS help to prevent and mitigate the effects of traffic accidents.
F-CELL World Drive: around the world in 125 days with fuel cell power
On 30 January three B-Class F-CELL cars started off from Stuttgart on an unprecedented round-the-world tour. Covering a total distance of 30,000 kilometres, these fuel cell powered electric cars will demonstrate on four continents and in 14 countries that they can cover long distances reliably and safely in a wide variety of road and climatic conditions.
Their day-to-day suitability is also confirmed by the current status of the tour: after crossing southern Europe and absolving a 7500-kilometre journey through North America from Fort Lauderdale (Florida) to Vancouver (Canada, British Columbia), and a 5000-kilometre stage through southern Australia, the fuel cell fleet has now completed half of its total journey. After more than 16,000 locally emission-free kilometres, the F-CELL World Drive is due to pay a visit to the motor show in Shanghai, having reached the fourth continent of this tour in Asia.
On 22 April 2011 the final stage of the F-CELL World Drive will start off in China. From Shanghai the B-Class F-CELL cars will embark on their 40-day return journey to Stuttgart, covering more than 14,000 kilometres via the Chinese capital of Beijing, the Kazakh cities of Almaty and Astana, Moscow and finally northern Europe.
125! Years of Innovation: "The love of invention never ceases"
On 29 January 1886, Carl Benz registered a patent for his three-wheeled motor car in Berlin – the official birthday of the automobile. In parallel with Benz, Gottlieb Daimler developed the first four-wheeled automobile. The founding fathers of today's Daimler AG and its core brand Mercedes-Benz therefore independently laid the foundation stone for all of today's passenger cars and commercial vehicles. Ever since, the inventor of the automobile has lastingly shaped its development in more ways than any other vehicle manufacturer – and in all relevant areas, from drive technology and comfort to safety and design.
"The love of invention never ceases" - this is the ethos passed down by Carl Benz. Innovation has always been the key to success for automobile manufacturers. For 125 years the company created on the basis of the inventions by Benz and Daimler has been substantiating its claim to technological leadership with more than 80,000 patents registered to date.
At the "Auto Shanghai 2011" show, one of the greatest-ever automotive icons will stand for the history of the automobile: a 300 SL dating from 1955. This legendary gull-wing coupé was not only a trailblazer with its design, but also technologically thanks to e.g. petrol injection.
Dr. Thomas Weber, Daimler Executive Board member for Corporate Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development, is optimistic about the future of individual transport: "It is no exaggeration to say that we are currently witnessing the second invention of the automobile. The technology has never developed this rapidly, and never before have we achieved such major advances in efficiency. And we at Daimler are right at the forefront of this surge in innovation. As the inventor of the automobile we feel a very particular obligation for its future. And for us one thing is beyond question: the best years of the automobile are yet to come."
New Mercedes song: inspired by Janis Joplin
"Oh Lord, won’t you buy me …" – it was with these words that Janis Joplin wrote musical history. Inspired by this world-famous classic dating from 1970, three young artists have now created a homage to the "Mercedes-Benz" on the initiative of the British music and lifestyle magazine BLAG. The singer and songwriter Estelle, the rapper and producer David Banner and the musician Daley have composed the new song "Benz". With modern sounds and new lyrics, they have formulated the world view of their generation and the fascination that is Mercedes-Benz. "Benz" is a lively, mood-setting‑piece carried by expressive soul-voices and influenced by David Banner's Mississippi roots. Mercedes-Benz has enthusiastically taken up the idea and supported the project.
The three musicians composed a new melody and wrote suitable lyrics during a creative session at the Record Plant Studios in Los Angeles in February. Their different musical directions combined to create an impressive and harmonious crossover. The track was produced by Grammy-winner David Banner. It was published as a single and music video on 18 April, and is being distributed solely via iTunes. Comprehensive making-of material will also be available as a BLAG Deluxe App for the iPad – with numerous stills from the video and interviews with Estelle, David Banner and Daley.